If you’re reading this, statistically speaking… you probably

  • weren’t very good at school
  • weren’t necessarily the cool kid
  • were somewhat of a dork / nerd
  • have the business ambition & energy of a NYC homeless crackhead looking for quick fix

Ok, that was a bad analogy. Couldn’t think of a good one, but you get the point.

If you are reading this blog, i’m sure your story is somewhat similar to Jeremy’s. In fact, that’s why I was drawn to this blog (and even guest posting here) because his story is very similar to mine.

Affiliates get BAD rep – in fact, I’ve heard on blogs that affiliates are the bottom of the marketing pole. The SCUMS of internet marketing that give internet marketing a bad name.

Totally understandable. Often affiliates are nameless faceless SUB-IDs of some shady networks promoting even shadier offers and sometimes downright illegal products that no one with 1/2 a souls would promote to their friends or family.

If you are one of those – hey, why not use that skill to advance humanity? I promise that you are NOT gonna die with all that cash. If you are one, and are completely disgusted by the dark side of affiliate marketing and do not engage in those activities, my hats off to you.

But regardless of your ethics barometer, I must say that affiliates are by far some of the best entrepreneurs I have come across.

Here’s why

1) Compete in Open Playing Field

Affiliates promote other people’s stuff. That’s their job.. and hence the title “affiliate”.

They have no competitive advantage per se – Anyone can promote the same stuff as they do, create (and even steal) people’s landing pages, no proprietary protection that investors ofen seek, no product that can call their “own”, and anyone can buy the same traffic source.. effectively “replicating” any successful marketing campaign.

But some THRIVE on that, like Charles Ngo and Malan Darras (both of whom I read routinely read). I don’t know how much money they make, but from the looks of it, they’re not starving.

Some might say that not having a product that has product market fit is a disadvantage: yet when I lived in San Jose, Silicon Valley was littered with startups with failed products (and failed dreams).

I’ve learned from personal failures that in business, distribution can make or break the business. If content is king, then distribution is God almighty.

Despite the lack of “competitive advantage”, affiliates do well because they learn & master the art of distribution , and that’s what they get paid for.

The affiliates that do well often transition to creating their own products & service, like Jeremy and his PAR Program.

2) Pivot Quickly

If you have ever done any paid marketing, you know that out of 10 things you try.. one might be a winner.

Often times, people who create products first (ready fire aim) fall in love with their baby, even though it’s a Frankenstein with lizard vomit all over it.

When they bring the product to market and have a rude awakening that no one wants it, they often fall into self pity and depression, and often times give up because they’ve used their 1-2 year runway on creating something that no one wants, because they create a solution to a non-existing problem.

Of course, affiliates are NO stranger to this. You put your hours and hours into a campaign only to be -100% for the next 3 days.

The ones that persist and keep launching campaigns are the ones that wise up, learn, and profit because they know others are making it work.

3) Learn the Art of Driving & Analyzing Traffic

If you started online marketing 10-15 years ago, you probably only knew about adwords and SEO.

Well, since then, there has been an EXPLOSION of traffic sources that are glad to take your money, and at much cheaper rates than say, search.

Since affiliate marketers have a much tighter restriction (i.e. their pay out is determined by the advertiser, where as the advertiser can pretty much charge whatever he/she feels like to the end customer), affiliates have to learn the art of “closing the sale”.

Usig pre-sell landing pages, maximizing creative CTR, multi-variate testing, channel optimization, etc etc. (i.e. “growth hacking“)

If you attend any entrepreneur “academy” of some sort, none of this stuff will be ever discussed? Why? I have no idea. My guess is that they’ve never done them.

But affiliates live and breathe this stuff 24×7.

So what’s the analogy?

Online marketer is to working out as (successful super) affiliate is to Arnold on Steroids

(… before he got all loose skinned)

4) Negotiate

Negotiating a payout bump for an affiliate offer can mean the world of difference, especially if your campaign is spending LOTS… only to break even.

Even a $1 bump can mean endless conversions for the advertiser (and yes, there are advertisers stupid enough to kill their own golden goose).

You’d be surprised how many “entrepreneurs” are so damn afraid of asking for what they deserve.

Well, I’m not exempt from this.

That one time I was able to generate $2k from 1 blog post (a very short consulting gig), I was going to ask a lower amount because somehow, I wasn’t sure if I was charging too much.

Then, I said to myself… “how stupid”… why de-value your work & service?

Remember, if you deliver value, CHARGE for value.

You don’t get paid what you’re worth.. you get paid what you ASK for.

5) Outsource / Leverage

Some of the most successful affiliates I’ve met are completely different from the one man shop affiliate guys.

They have a team – team of designers, programmers, media buyers, and even operations people.

Most entrepreneurs have a mindset of “i can do it all” and become good at nothing. (Yes, I do suffer from this and are now starting let things go.. things that I’m great at, but still hate doing).

There’s only 24 hours in a day, the affiliates that make the 99% of the income know that there’s no freakin’ possible way that they can do the work of 5-10 people by yourself.

Entrepreneurs fall into the trap of “do it yourself” and sometimes get pigeonholed.. or miss the “market” because they don’t have the time to look up.

Super affiliates seem to understand well that the only way to grow is to grow your team.

By Taewoo Kim

TaeWoo is an accomplished online marketer with 10+ years of experience in affiliate marketing, lead generation, SEM, PPC, and media buying. You can follow him on his blog at FreshSuperCool.com or on Twitter @TaeWooKim.

19 thoughts on “Why Affiliates Make Best Entrepreneurs”
  1. I read internet speak and I totally glazed over all the typos in the title until I started reading your article and realized how glaringly obvious it was.

    1. If spelling error was the only thin you got out of this, you obviously missed the point.

  2. Affiliate marketers are the most shady, ruthless, down and dirty marketers out there and they get stuff DONE. We’re all in it for the dollars and we’ll step on whatever hand and crush skulls to get that dollar. Our motto is pretty much no honor amongst thieves.

    1. I don’t know if I can make that claim. Affiliate marketing just happens to draw people who may act like that, just because with AM, you can hide behind your screen. 99% of those people would never be so “mercenary” if they had to put their names & faces behind their marketing campaign.

      Remember, self-control is the best form of control. Not to mention branding & long term business viability.

      LIke I said.. you ain’t gonna die with money, so live with integrity because i guarantee you will die some day.

  3. Every time I see a pic of Tyrone Biggums from Chapelle show I can’t help but think of the Fear Factor Sketch they did. “You know, Joe Rogan, this is not the first time I’ve tasted penis. I’ve had several! In my line of work, you taste penises all the time!”

  4. You can only grow your business if you grow your team and affiliate marketers know that best, in my opinion.

  5. Hi friend ,

    I love this post , picture is very nice , thank you for sharing

  6. One thing I kept asking myself whiles going through the post was this, is this something for everyone? And obviously the answer that comes in mind is a big NO!

    I see affiliate marketing as something for the smart and the fortunate thing is that only the smart guys are referred to as entrepreneurs.

  7. I agree that after a reasonable success (earnings 🙂 ) it’s a better idea to build a team (outsource). Thanks for sharing!

  8. I see a lot of people selling courses on affiliate marketing promising that by following a simple few steps, they can become rich quickly (in most cases within 30 days), how much time and effort do you think a newbie would need to make enough to give up their day job?

  9. Well when I first created by clickbank id, I saw most of the products as scam, and I lost half of my interest in affiliate work.

    But there is always two sides of the coin, one needs to work harder to go and recommend the legit ones, by real reviews, slowly but there is success waiting.

    Nice article, man. Anyway, I found this on kingged.

  10. Great piece, Taewoo.

    I agree that affiliates are the leanest of the lean and meanest of the mean. They deal with NUMBERS, and numbers don’t screw around.

    Thanks so much man.


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